Taiwan: United States opens de facto embassy in capital Taipei, angers China

  • Taiwan: United States opens de facto embassy in capital Taipei, angers China

Taiwan: United States opens de facto embassy in capital Taipei, angers China

Moy said the new building was "a symbol of the close cooperation and enduring friendship between the United States and Taiwan". "The new office complex is a symbol of the strength and vibrancy of the US-Taiwan partnership in the 21st century".

That's because despite its innocuous name, the organization has long functioned as the de facto U.S. Embassy in Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing considers a renegade Chinese province.

The same day that President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un held their historic summit in Singapore, several US politicians and officials attended another, far less heralded ceremony just to the north: It was the dedication of a ritzy new complex for the American Institute in Taiwan, or AIT - and China wasn't happy about it.

The new building best represents the progress in bilateral ties made over the past years, but it will not officially begin operations until early September, the AIT said.

A dedication ceremony for the US$250 million four-storey office compound was attended on Tuesday morning by senior officials from Taiwan and the USA, including the island's President Tsai Ing-wen.

Among other officials attending the ceremony was Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, whose independence-leaning administration Beijing has sought to isolate diplomatically and threatens with invasion.

AIT Chairman James Moriarty, who arrived in Taiwan on Sunday, yesterday said the new AIT complex is "an important symbol" of USA commitment to Taiwan.

The US switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979 but maintains economic, political and security ties with Taiwan, according to AFP. Trump has previously vowed to honor Beijing's One China policy, but Washington's recent attempts to cozy up to Taiwan have undermined Beijing's confidence in his pledge.

China and the U.S. - now in heated talks over trade - have frequently sparred over questions of militarization of the South China Sea, where Taiwan also has competing claims to parts or all of the region.

On Monday night, China's state-run tabloid Global Times published an editorial, suggesting Beijing should warn the U.S. and Taiwan of possible consequences for any provocative move.

The AIT will move into its new complex later this year. Together American and Taiwanese representatives, this time including former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), put their chosen objects into a "time capsule" box prepared by the AIT. China also has recently pointedly conducted several military drills in the Taiwan strait and around the island.

The opening of the new facility angered Beijing.